Now for something completely different (for this blog), the Zauder case, Zauder v. the Ohio Disciplinary Council re atty advertising:
Zauder v. Ohio Disciplinary Council
No. 83-2166. | Argued Jan. 7, 1985. | Decided May 28, 1985.
In a disciplinary proceeding, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that violations of certain disciplinary rules of Ohio warranted public reprimand, 10 Ohio St.3d 44, 461 N.E.2d 883. On appeal, the Supreme Court, Justice White, held that: (1) discipline for advertising geared to persons with specific legal problem could not be justified; (2) substantial interest justifying ban on in-person solicitation could not justify discipline for content of newspaper advertisement; (3) attorney may not be disciplined for soliciting legal business through printed advertising containing truthful and nondeceptive information and advice regarding legal rights of potential clients; (4) illustration in the advertisement which was accurate representation of intrauterine device and had no feature likely to deceive, mislead or confuse reader, could not provide basis for discipline; but (5) application of requirement that an attorney advertising his availability on contingent-fee basis disclose that clients will have to pay costs even if their lawsuits are unsuccessful was proper where advertisement made no mention or distinction between “legal fees” and “costs.”
Affirmed in part and reversed in part.
A ruling that any of various findings of violation of disciplinary regulations by attorney was sustained did not necessarily warrant affirmance of public reprimand, even though such discipline would be the least severe discipline that could be imposed under Ohio’s rules, in view of fact that the public reprimand incorporated opinion of Supreme Court of Ohio as well as report of Board of Bar Commissioners and thereby constituted public chastisement for each offense specified. Ohio Code of Prof.Resp., DR2-101(A, B), (B)(1-20), DR2-103(A), DR2-104(A).
What has come to be known as “commercial speech” is entitled to protection of the First Amendment, albeit to protection somewhat less extensive than that afforded “noncommercial speech.” U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.
[please note,what I have is not “commercial speech”–what I write is not advertising but reporting corruption in the courts and the ARDC wants to regulate that. “Fair reporting” is entitled to the highest protection under the First Amendment as “political speech” and “participating in the government process”. So, let’s assume arguendo what I said is “commercial speech”, then what? What protection is my blog afforded. What has SCOTUS said?]
States and federal government are free to prevent dissemination of commercial speech that is false, deceptive or misleading, or that proposes illegal transaction, but commercial speech that is not false or deceptive and does not concern unlawful activities may be restricted only in service of substantial governmental interest, and only through means that directly advance that interest. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 1.